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American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly

Volume 78, Issue 2, Spring 2004

Boethius

Siobhan Nash-Marshall
Pages 225-246

God, Simplicity, and the Consolatio Philosophiae

One of the primary concerns of the Consolatio is to draw out many of the paradoxical conclusions concerning the relation between creation and God that stem from the premises of classical creationist metaphysics, and attempt to solve them. Once one accepts that God does exist, is omnipotent, omniscient, and simple, it becomes viciously difficult to explain: (1) how anything contrary to God’s will—evil—can exist; (2) how any cause can act independently of God’s will—human freedom; and (3) how “independent causes” can relate to God through their own agency—human prayer. This naturally begs the question: why should we accept the premises of classical creationist metaphysics? This paper addresses this question by analyzing and defending two of the central premises of Boethius’s version of classical creationist metaphysics as they are addressed in Consolatio III,10: (a) that God exists, and (b) that God is simple.